The third drawer down

Spoons and ladles from Francatelli's Cook's Guide and Advertiser. Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection

While we’re mainly looking at the pots and pans in this series on the colonial batterie de cuisine, it’s a good time for a diversion into all the miscellaneous bits and pieces in a kitchen – all those things we keep in the ‘third drawer down’.

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Under the hammer

The kitchen at Vaucluse House. Detail of photo (c) Jamie North for Sydney Living Museums

One of the best documentary sources for kitchens and dining rooms in the colonial period isn’t actually family archives – but newspaper and auction advertisements. Individuals leaving the colony after a few years – or facing ‘pecuniary embarrassment’ – would typically sell up, so lists of household effects are fairly common. Larger sales warranted their own catalogues, which could be broken down room by room; for a curator these are a goldmine of information as to furnishings and paraphernalia, artworks and even what books were in personal libraries.

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Polly put the kettle on, and let’s have… fish?

Poached snapper in the kitchen at Vaucluse House._Detail of photograph (c) Cath Muscat for Sydney Living Museums

 

Last year we talked about those confusing and interchangeable words baking and roasting, and got to grip with table- and soup spoons. They’re far from the only confusing words used in the historic kitchen and household, so today I’m starting a series of posts looking at the vast range of pots and pans you can see in a historic kitchen – and what exactly they were called and used for. Continue reading

Then and now – the dining room at Elizabeth Bay House part 2

Detail of the the dining room at Elizabeth Bay House 11 August 1987. Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection, Sydney Living Museums. Photo Andrew Payne Photographix

This week we’re back at Elizabeth Bay House, in one of Sydney’s grandest dining rooms. After the departure of the Macleays, Macarthur-Onslows and Michaelises, its years as a reception house and then as flats, the ‘Lion of Sydney’ began its new life as a house museum. But, as this continuing ‘Then and Now’ series shows, it certainly wasn’t without controversy!

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Take 5

The plundered punchbowl at Sweetness and Light at Elizabeth Farm. Photograph (c) Scott Hill for Sydney Living Museums

Last Friday at Elizabeth Farm we celebrated the connections between Australia’s oldest European house and India with a night of Bengal sugar – and rum punch! Continue reading